why was the battle of chickamauga fought
In the western theater of the Civil War, during the late summer and autumn of 1863, Union and Confederate forces were struggling over control of the key railroad center of Chattanooga,. By mid-September, Union General William Rosecrans had pushed Braxton BraggБs Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga and gathered his army of some 60,000 at Chickamauga, located 12 miles southwest of Chattanooga. Though Confederate morale in the region was at a low point, the imminent arrival of reinforcements led by
helped shore up BraggБs forces, and the general decided to go on the offensive.
Did You Know? The West Point-educated George Thomas, known as the "Rock of Chickamauga" for his steadfast performance in that battle, remained loyal to the Union despite his Virginia birth. After his subordinates failed to follow through with a series of initial attacks, the first of LongstreetБs troops arrived. With some 65,000 men at his disposal (either on the field or on the way), Bragg was assured that he would enjoy a numerical advantage over Rosecrans. On the early morning of September 19, the two armies met in the woods lining the banks of Chickamauga Creek.
Only Gettysburg was bloodier than the Battle of Chickamauga that ended in northwest Georgia on this day in 1863. Three months earlier, the Union Army had begun a strategy to capture Chattanooga, a major railroad hub and gateway to the Deep South. General William Rosecrans U. S. Army of the Cumberland, and General Braxton Bragg s Confederate Army of Tennessee, collided at Chickamauga Creek, 12 miles south of Chattanooga. For three days, 120,000 soldiers fought. The combined casualty count was 34,000 men -- the greatest Union defeat in the Western Theater. The largest battle fought on Georgia soil, Chickamauga was a tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic defeat.
U. S. General George Thomas earned the nickname Rock of Chickamauga by holding off the Confederates long enough for the Union Army to retreat to Chattanooga, their objective all along. Two months later Ulysses S. Grant decisively defeated Bragg s Confederates at Chattanooga. That opened the door to Atlanta and Sherman s march to the sea. Ironically, ultimate Confederate defeat began with the Confederate victory at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, Today in Georgia History.
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